Date of Award


Degree Name

Exercise Science


College of Health Professions

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Dr. Mark Timmons, Committee Chairperson

Second Advisor

Dr. Gary Mcllvain

Third Advisor

Dr. Steven Leigh


Introduction: The ankle is a complex structure of three joints that allow multiplanar motion (Brockett & Chapman, 2016). Lateral ankle sprains (LAS) are the most common injury seen today in both the general and athletic populations and have a high recurrence rate. When left untreated or mistreated, it often leads to developing chronic ankle instability or osteoarthritis, which a lower quality of life. Dr. Russ Ebbets created a set of foot drills with the claim that they can strengthen the muscles of the lower leg, lessen lower leg aliments, and the chances of a severe ankle sprain (Ebbets, 2011a). The purpose of this study was to explore the muscle activation of the lower extremity musculature during Ebbets’ foot drills while examining the sEMG of the tibialis anterior, tibialis posterior, peroneus longus, soleus, and during normal walking.

Methods: Twenty-two college students (11 males, 11 females avg age 23.76) participated in the study with one female being excluded; after informed consent, demographics were collected. Next, the Identification of Functional Ankle Instability questionnaire and the Foot and Ankle Ability Measure questionnaires were taken. After balance testing, preparation of sEMG of the tibialis anterior, tibialis posterior, peroneus longus, and soleus. The sEMG was collected during strength testing and all the walking trials, including normal walking and each Ebbets’ foot drill. Mean RMS was calculated for each trial and was used for comparison.

Results: Results found that compared to normal walking, Ebbets’ foot drills increased all the selected muscles' muscle activity compared to normal walking. The tibialis anterior saw a significant increase during all the drills. The tibialis posterior saw a significant increase during the last three drills. The peroneus longus saw a significant increase during all but one drill. The soleus saw a significant increase during all Ebbets’ drills.

Conclusion: Dr. Ebbets’ foot drills have revealed that they generate greater muscle activity than regular walking, which means the drills may strengthen the tibialis anterior, peroneus longus, and tibialis posterior and soleus. These results build evidence on Dr. Ebbets’ theory and indicate that these foot drills may be used to rehabilitate and prevent LAS and CAI development.


Ankle -- Wounds and injuries.

Foot -- Wounds and injuries